By Sujit Chakraborty
Guwahati/Shillong, July 10 (IANS) Meghalaya on Thursday joined the northeastern states in reaching a three-digit figure of coronavirus infections with 13 more persons testing positive while the northeast region saw its tally rise to 18,665 with 32 deaths.
According to the Chief Ministers, Health Ministers and officials of the eight northeastern states, Covid cases in the region spiked with return of around 4.5 lakh natives from south and north India.
After withdrawal of the public travel restrictions on May 4, over 3.12 lakh people alone returned to Assam by road, trains and air from different parts of the country, causing the sharp rise the number of coronavirus cases in the state.
Of the total cases, Assam tops the list with 14,032 cases (4,855 active), followed by Tripura with 1,773 cases (449 active), and Manipur with 1,450 cases (651 active). Nagaland has 673 cases (369 active), Arunachal Pradesh 287 cases (176 active), Mizoram 203 cases (60 active), Sikkim 133 cases (62 active) in Sikkim and Meghalaya 114 cases (67 active).
As on late Thursday night, the region has 6,676 active cases while around 11,950 people recovered from the dreaded virus. The highest number of deaths – 27 – were in Assam, followed by two each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and one in Tripura.
According to Health Department officials in the northeastern states, many soldiers, Border Security Force troopers, General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) personnel, who have been working along the borders to construct roads and various other infrastructures, also tested positive.
Meanwhile, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a tweet, said: “As we continue our fight against the pandemic, there are some milestones that need to be celebrated. I am very proud of my team for having achieved the five lakh Covid-19 testing mark today (Thursday).”
In another tweet, Sarma said: “Compliments to our doctors as we started the plasma-therapy today (Thursday). I am glad I joined the doctors and nurses on the occasion of administering the first plasma at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.”
After a sudden surge in coronavirus infections, which Sarma termed the “real pandemic phase”, the Health Department has started a door-to-door Covid-19 testing programme in Guwahati. The Health Minister is personally monitoring the programme in the Pandu area of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), and is asking people to cooperate, not panic.
In just 11 days, the coronavirus cases in Kamrup (Metro) district jumped to around 3,000 from 63. Guwahati, headquarters of the Kamrup (Metro) district, is home to 11.20 lakh people. The state government announced a 14-day “complete lockdown” in the district from June 28 midnight to check the virus spread.
Assam’s Covid-19 recovery rate on Thursday night stands at 65.19 per cent.
In Shillong, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, in a tweet, said that to ensure Covid-19 protocols are duly adhered to, the government has decided to impose penalties of Rs 500 for first time violators which would be increased to Rs 1,000 for repeat violators.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])